The Rest of the Story

WARNING: The information that follows is likely to conflict with your long-held beliefs and opinions about Donald Lawrence. If you want your memories of Don to remain as they are, you should just ignore this page and return to the Final Days narrative or the Home Page.

The following narrative was written by Tony Lewis. I am sharing this information in the hopes that it will help people understand what happened to Donald. Perhaps it will even help someone else troubled by the demon of addiction to face the consequences before it is too late.

Don and I were together from December 1990 until May 2004. Throughout those thirteen years, Don always dreaded the ominous milestones where other relationships faltered. In particular I remember him being concerned about the two-year and seven-year marks. He often remarked about the “seven year itch.” But it was not some arbitrary date on the calendar that led to the end of our relationship; it was addiction.

If you read the Final Days narrative, you know that Don died from complications related to AIDS. When Don and I started dating he was HIV negative. Our original covenant to one another was to have a monogamous relationship. In November 1995, I learned that Don had been arrested for having sex in a public park; at that time we dropped the facade of monogamy and agreed to have an open relationship.

Neither of us was tested for HIV during those first few years so I insisted that we practice safe sex. Once we agreed to have an open relationship, that practice continued.

A year or so later, Don was tested for HIV. The results were inconclusive. I now believe this was roughly the time of his seroconversion. Three years after that, Don and I signed up to participate in an AIDS vaccine trial. One of the entry criteria was that the participants had to be HIV negative. Don was rejected from the trial because his test results showed that he was HIV positive. I was able to participate in the trial and received HIV tests every six months for the three-year duration of the trial. (The last time I was tested, I continued to be HIV negative and since that test I have not participated in any behavior that places me at risk of contracting HIV.)

Over the last several years, I knew that Don was regularly meeting other men for casual sex. I was pretty sure that some of those contacts included unprotected sex since I saw references to “bareback” parties. Near the end of our relationship, I found some notes that Don had passed to a sex partner that made me suspect that he was also using drugs.

As time went on, Don began to focus on his sexual exploits to the exclusion of almost everything else. He spent hours in front of the computer on Internet sites where men connected for casual sex and then went out for sex with the men he had met online.

It became obvious to me that Don had a sexual addiction and that he needed professional help. I encouraged him to get help, but he was convinced that nothing was wrong. In March 2004 I had reached the end of my patience and was ready to throw him out of the house, but before I confronted him, I sat down and considered whether there was anything that could be done to salvage the relationship. My conclusion was that Don had to seek professional help and had to make serious strides toward being responsible about his behavior and the impact it was having on our relationship.

I confronted Don and told him that he had two choices: see a professional or pack his bags and move out. He told me that I was hurting his feelings, but agreed to see a professional. He met five times with a therapist: twice alone and three times with both of us present. Don was convinced that the therapist was telling him that he did not have an addiction; he certainly was not following through on any of the things that he promised to do during the therapy sessions.

On Friday, May 7, 2004 I went to bed around midnight and was unable to sleep. The agony of the situation was tearing me apart. As I lay in bed, I concluded that it was time to end the relationship; as soon as that thought crossed my mind, I felt a wave of peacefulness wash over me and knew that it was the right decision. I planned to sit down and talk to Don on Saturday, but when he came downstairs from his computer, he had his “trick kit” with him. He told me that he was going shopping. I decided to find another time to confront him. The moment arrived on Sunday. I told Don that I could not continue the relationship and asked him to move out by the end of May; he later told me that I had to give him thirty days so the move was postponed until early June.

I knew that he would have a hard time living on his disability check from Social Security and I was concerned that he would be living on the streets. I paid off our Honda Odyssey seven months early and signed it over into his name. (That would be his home from June 2004 until February 2005 when I bought a mobile home for him to live in.)

Even though he had a month to pack his things, he didn’t start packing until three days before he was supposed to leave. He still had a lot of stuff left to pack when he drove away in the van. He came back several times over the next couple of months to finish his packing. Eventually most of his stuff was in boxes in my garage where it stayed until he moved into the mobile home.

Since Don’s death, I have been cleaning his home and sorting through his belongings. I have found many notes referring to the purchase and use of “tina” (crystal methamphetamine) as well as other drugs.

In the end, Don’s addiction to sex and drugs led to his untimely death. I pray that he finds more peace in death than he was able to find in life.

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